The election of Donald Tusk as head of the European Council comes alongside pressure for Poland to improve its environmental record. The 2030 climate package is due to be adopted before the arrival of the new president, who is more concerned with the European Energy Union than with his climate change commitments.
A senior European Commission official has told EurActiv.fr that the election of the Polish premier as President of the European Council represents a “challenge for climate negotiations,” as Poland has systematically tried to hold back European climate policy.
This sentiment is likely to be echoed by the international community ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. The role of the President of the European Council, as described in the rules of procedure, involves organising meetings of the European heads of state and deciding what goes on the agenda.
Donald Tusk’s nomination is accompanied by an assortment of well-orchestrated diplomatic precautions. According to our sources, France and Germany have insisted that Herman Van Rompuy, the outgoing President of the European Council, should commit to finalising the European position on the 2030 climate and energy package during the next meeting of the European Council, due to take place on 23 and 24 October, in Brussels.
The 2030 climate and energy package, proposed by the Commission earlier this year, remains a working document because it has not yet been discussed by the heads of state. The European stance, which in theory should have been determined last spring, has been delayed, with the crisis in Ukraine dominating European summits since early 2014.
“Everything has been done to ensure that the climate dossier is not a top priority of the new President of the European Council. His credibility could soon be called into question,” one specialist assured. The Climate Change Conference he organised in Warsaw in 2013 was a fiasco. Poland generates 90% of its electricity from coal and its CO2 emissions per capita continue to rise. This is not a good image for the EU, which likes to market itself as a world leader on climate change.